This Archaeology Site Is Guarded by 500 Turkish Soldiers

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Previously excavated art from the ancient city of Karkemish (Gianni Dagli Orti/Corbis)

This Archaeology Site Is Guarded by 500 Turkish Soldiers

The excavation of a 5,000 year old city on the Turkey-Syrian border continues despite nearby presence of the Islamic State extremists

smithsonian.com
November 18, 2014

The ancient city of Karkemish, a 5,000-year-old site near the northwestern edge of what was Mesopotamia, holds mosaic floors, stone monuments, hieroglyphics and 65-foot-tall walls. One of the last teams to work on the site came from the British Museum and included Lawrence of Arabia. But now the excavation of this historic capital is surrounded by 500 Turkish soldiers, tanks and artillery, reports the Associated Press. The heavy guard is necessary because the site is just tens of feet from Islamic State-controlled areas.

The Syrian city of Jarablous, just over the Turkey-Syria border, « now flies the black banner of the Islamic extremist group, » writes the AP. But the project director, Nicolo Marchetti of the University of Bolonga, is undeterred: « Basically we work 20 meters away from the ISIS-controlled areas, » he says. « Still, we have had no problem at all. … We work in a military area. It is very well protected. »

Researchers resumed excavation on Karkemish in 2011 after work was halted by World War I. Now, the dig includes the house used by T.E. Lawrence and Sir Leonard Woolley during their work from 1911 to 1914. Popular-archaeology.com writes of the site’s importance:

Here, kings and conquerors of the Mittani, Hittite, and Neo-Assyrian empires established seats of power and here, the Babylonian forces of Nebuchadnezzar II defeated the combined troops of Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt and Assyrian allies at the Battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C.

Conflict has long made archeological sites and valuables vulnerable to looting and illegal digs. In some cases, the best hope researchers have is to document the damage through aerial photographs in areas where it is too dangerous to investigate on the ground. But the archaeologists in Turkey are determined to make the best of the situation, at least for the Turkish side of the excavation site. The AP reports that important finds this year have already been made:

Among this year’s finds were sculptures in the palace of King Katuwa, who ruled the area around 900 B.C. There were five large orthostats in limestone and basalt, a dark grey to black rock, that portray row of individuals bearing gifts of gazelle. An orthostat is an upright stone or slab that forms part of a structure.

Marchetti says that the plan is for tourists to visit next spring. A 13-foot-high wall will be erected around the site. « This will be a total protection for the tourists, » he says.

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La Tunisie suspend la vente à Paris de six pièces archéologiques de son patrimoine

C’est une première. Le gouvernement tunisien a obtenu la suspension de la vente aux enchères à Paris de six pièces archéologiques datant de l’époque romaine appartenant à son patrimoine national. La vente qui devait être effectuée vendredi 21 novembre 2014, à partir de 14H, par la maison de ventes aux enchères Million, portait sur les pièces suivantes :

  • une stèle votive en calcaire blanc représentant homme imberbe debout drape d’une toge,
  • un vase-statuette représentant vieille femme
  • une tète janiforme en terre cuite représentant un satyre et une ménade.
  • trois pièces de céramiques en sigillée africaine de type El Aouja.

Alerté par la mise en ligne de l’annonce de cette vente, le chef du gouvernement, Mehdi Jomaa a donné ses instructions afin d’entreprendre les démarches pressantes auprès des autorités françaises pour surseoir à l’opération. L’action de l’ambassade de Tunisie à Paris a porté ses fruits et la suspension a été confirmée, en attendant que les enquêtes en cours établissent ou pas une infraction pénale du détenteur des pièces archéologiques concernées. L’objectif est de s’assurer du retour de ces pièces en Tunisie.

Le message du gouvernement se veut aussi clair que ferme : gare aux pillards du patrimoine archéologique et à sa vente à l’étranger. La traque va s’intensifier et toutes les ambassades de Tunisie sont en alerte.

 

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Des œuvres du patrimoine tunisien seront mises en vente en France

http://www.millon-associes.com/html/index.jsp?id=21543&lng=fr&npp=10000

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New mosaics unearthed in ancient city of Zeugma

This year’s round of excavations in Gaziantep’s ancient city of Zeugma have ended, as the restoration period now begins

Three new mosaics have been unearthed as part of the Muzalar House excavations in the ancient city of Zeugma, in Turkey's southern province of Gaziantep. AA PhotosThree new mosaics have been unearthed during the Muzalar House excavations in the ancient city of Zeugma in Turkey’s southern province of Gaziantep.

The uncovered mosaics were displayed at a press conference attended by Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Şahin and the head of the excavations, Professor Kutalmış Görkay.

Görkay said excavations at Zeugma, which was one of the most important centers in the Eastern Roman Empire, had started in 2007, adding that good progress had been made with the support of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, the Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality and İş Bank.

“There are still unexcavated areas. There are rock-carved houses here. We have reached one of these houses and the house includes six spaces. We have also unearthed three new mosaics in this year’s excavations,” he said.

Görkay added that with the end of the excavation season, the most important stage had now started.

“From now on, we will work on restoration and conservation. We plan to establish a temporary roof for long-term protection. We estimate that the ancient city has 2,000-3,000 houses. Twenty-five of them remain under water. Excavations will be finished in the Muzalar House next year,” he said.

The professor said the annual budget for the excavations changed every year, but a total of about 7 million Turkish Liras had been spent on the excavations since 2005.

Mayor Şahin said the region’s history, which included empires such as the Romans, the Hittites, the Assyrians and the Byzantines, was « as old as the history of mankind. »

“They did not think of roads, water and infrastructure only, but they attached importance to revealing cultural values. This is the city of industry and trade and also deserves to be a city of culture and tourism. This is our mission. I hope we will be able to unearth the whole civilization of Zeugma,” she added.

İş Bank’s Suat Sözen said his bank had provided the first support to uncovering Zeugma while it was still underwater in 2000. “We will continue to undertake this mission. After 2000, we became the sponsor for the work in the Muzalar House, and this contribution will continue until 2017, » Sözen said.

Meanwhile, the media presentation event for the three newly uncovered mosaics drew the ire of Turkish social media users, after pictures emerged showing officials, including Şahin, stepping on the ancient works in their shoes.

November/04/2014

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Una mañana de turismo cultural y gastronómico en Granada

Originally posted on La columna de Miryam :

Hoy nos vamos a visitar el Palacio de  la Madraza de Granada, un lugar que puede llegar a pasar desapercibido y que tiene un papel muy importante en la historia de la ciudad.

HISTORIA

Fue edificada bajo el reinado del rey Yusuf I, allá por el año 1.349, siendo conocida por Yusufiyya o Casa de la Ciencia, y también por Angiba (Admirable).

Inicialmente este edificio albergaba la antigua Universidad islámica dedicada a escuela de estudios coránicos, de carácter superior, que comprendía tanto estudios de Teología, Jurisprudencia como de Filosofía, mientras que los estudios de básicos, de estas ramas, se impartían en las mezquitas.

La Madraza de Granada tuvo gran fama  y renombre, llegando a ser una de las mas importantes del mundo islámico, en esa época, y la primera Universidad de Occidente, a similitud de la existentes en el norte de África. De allí , y en concreto del Magreb procedían…

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Philippe II de Macédoine, père d’Alexandre le Grand.

Une étude anthropologique, menée sur près de 350 os et fragments exhumés, a permis de confirmer l’hypothèse selon laquelle l’un des occupants d’une tombe royale à deux chambres fouillée sur le territoire de Vergina était bel et bien Philippe II de Macédoine, père d’Alexandre le Grand.

Cette affirmation des scientifiques grecs se fonde sur une série de pathologies, de marqueurs d’activité et de traumatismes identifiés sur les ossements et qui semblent confirmés par les écrits anciens.

Ainsi, Philippe II de Macédoine a souffert d’une sinusite frontale et maxillaire. Selon les scientifiques, ce traumatisme facial est lié à une flèche qui a frappé le visage du Roi et qui l’a rendu aveugle de l‘œil droit. Une telle blessure, attestée par les écrits, aurait été causée à l’occasion du siège de Méthone en 354 avant notre Ere.

Les anthropologues soulignent aussi que d’autres indices plaident en ce sens: blessures liées au combat et à la guerre (clavicule et main gauche notamment), lésions inhérentes à une personne pratiquant l’équitation, inhumation suivie d’une incinération…

Pour en savoir plus sur les conclusions passionnantes de cette étude, je vous recommande les deux articles suivants:

* Discovery News : « Remains of Alexander the Great’s Father Confirmed Found » (news.discovery.com, 10 October 2014)
* Archaeology : « Study Confirms Remains as Philip II of Macedon » (Archaeology, 10 October 2014)

Philippe II de Macédoine - Image : Wikipédia
Archeologia.be
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A taste of Ancient Rome – Pullum Particum (Parthian Chicken) and Parthian Chickpeas

Originally posted on FOLLOWING HADRIAN:

Pullum Particum (Parthian Chicken) is so far my favorite Apician recipe. I have cooked and tasted it twice and it is an absolute delight! This is one of the best chicken dishes I have ever had.

But is Pullum Particum Parthian? Sally Grainger, the highly knowledgeable food historian, suggests  that the name originated with the use of asafetida in the dish. Asafoetida is native to the mountains of Afghanistan and would have come to the Romans via trade with their Parthian neighbours. Or perhaps, the dish was Parthian in origins, but adapted by the Romans to their taste (by adding caraway).

The following recipe was adapted from Apicius by Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger. It can be found in their book, The Classical Cookbook. I chose to serve this dish with Parthian chickpeas and a spoonful of some home-made date paste (as suggested by the excellent Pass the Garum). They make the…

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